Jesse’s Musings
Reflections of a consious mind

Why is it so hard to be normal?!?

In her book, Tiny beautiful things, Cheryl Strayed addresses a question from a reader,  entitled “WTF, WTF,WTF”? Deep and complex, I know. Basically this person is summarizing their daily existence with this acronym.

She responds by recounting a horrible experience that was forced on her repeatedly against her will when she was a child, and also the realization that she couldn’t change it as she grew older. It happened, she had to accept it. In essence she was saying: “we’ve all got baggage and shit”! It’s called life. So accept it, or don’t, it’s your choice. Acceptance doesn’t mean you agree. It doesn’t mean you condone. It doesn’t means you are happy with the circumstances. But if does mean you will now be able to to move forward. Move on, no matter how slowly. That’s how progress is made. Slowly, quickly, “steady by jerks” as a mentor of mine once said.

Ive employed and worked with a number of younger people, men and women, in my business in the past 4 years, and it’s given me a better perspective of the meaning of all this, and the need for it. Without acceptance and ownership of the “shit” there will be no growth, accountability or forward motion. These leaves a vacuum into which seeps  blaming, emotional sidestepping, and the inability, to as I call it, “be normal”.  Normal isn’t inherently boring or predicable, though it can be. Normal to me means that as a human/adult, we have a proclivity towards stability, instead of chaos. A penchant for actions and decisions that bring peace and purpose rather than tumult and emotional angst.

The typical attitude I’ve encountered when I suggest “normality” as a viable option,  is that I “just don’t get it”. I’m just a priveledged white male who has it easy and has never been harassed by the cops, sexually assaulted, bullied in school, abandoned by a parent or parents, etc. I won’t deny any of this. There are people who have had it worse than me, much worse!

However, I left a country/job/industry that I loved. I drove for 5 days in a Uhaul to another country where I started life over from the bottom, in an industry that I hated. I’ve  experienced prolonged and extreme financial hardship. I’ve been cheated on. I’ve been divorced. My brother died in jail for a crime he  most assuredly didn’t commit. My Dad died suddenly of a heart attack at 64 when he had always been healthy. I have had a couple busineees fail despite my best efforts.

So, no, I haven’t lived your life, but I’ve lived mine.  Some days you  just have to get out of bed. That’s all you can do; all you have the energy and capacity for. Some days that’s all you want, just a little – a glimpse. Then other days you take a big step, a bold leap. This is how you get there, slowly, then quickly; steady by jerks.

In January of 2014 I was in a tough place. My heart was a fibrillating mass of confusion and resentment. Out of that came an opportunity to get back into doing what I love, and my company, Elite Metalworks Inc., was born. Four years later we are growing and thriving and even now, there are days that I feel rebellious, impetuous, used, betrayed, sentimental, obstreperous, antagonistic. Then there are days where I feel exuberant, joyous, unstoppable, extremely benevolent, youthful and optimistic. And, I’m ok with all of it, because it’s what makes me, me. It’s what’s makes you, you.

It’s the journey. A journey of acceptance and accountability. It’s the realization that WTF,WTF,WTF, is a cop out. Your fucks, like Cheryl says, have to matter more and be assigned to the areas of your life that will produce the most benefit for you! We all have shit and baggage – get over it, or don’t. It’s your life.  Own it, live it, mean it!

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